As a responsible dog owner, I'm very aware of our surroundings when I take my 5 pound Chihuahua outdoors. He's always on a leash, and I keep my eyes on the ground, as well as in the air, he's a snack for a hawk. Well, if you're an area resident that uses Bethel's Meckauer Park on Shelter Rock Road, more specifically the dog park there, the Bethel Police Department have issued a warning to keep your eyes out for snapping turtles.

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I'm a friend of turtles. I love seeing them out in the wild, and in fact, right now (end of June) it's turtle nesting season here in Connecticut. Turtles have been here way before those condos, or that road, or city, or well.. human civilization. We built our world by taking away big chunks of theirs. In Bethel's Meckauer Park, there are three bodies of water in and around it.

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Well, this past Sunday, June 26, a snapping turtle wandered into the dog park at Meckauer Park. According to the Bethel Police Department, thankfully, the turtle was safely removed before a curious doggy ended up with a chunk of their nose missing. In their statement, the Bethel PD reiterate that this is a very active time of year for turtles, and should use the dog park soon, survey the area carefully before you let your dog loose.

This warning doesn't just cover Bethel, it's good advice for all pet owners here in Connecticut. Snapping turtles aren't inherently aggressive, but man, are they territorial. If you make the stupid decision to try to get near one, never try to pick one up. They have longer necks than you think, and damn, they have strong jaws. Another deterrent that I've been the victim of? They poop and pee when they're picked up, and let me tell you, you don't want to have that on your clothing or skin.

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Your Guide to The Off-Leash Dog Parks of Connecticut

There are quite a few dog parks around Connecticut that allow your pet to roam freely off-leash. There are many prohibitions and responsibilities, but it's so fun to watch your little friend explore open spaces. Here's a handy guide to quite a few around the state of Connecticut